While California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a law into effect giving thousands of young undocumented immigrants a chance to drive, immigration advocates criticized Brown Monday for a pair of late vetoes related to federal detention rules and benefits for the state's domestic workers.
Sunday night, Brown vetoed both the TRUST Act, which would have changed how local law enforcement complied with Immigrations and Customs enforcement against undocumented immigrants, and AB889, called the "Domestic Bill of Rights," which would have allowed more than 200,000 household employees formal access to overtime and meal breaks.
A member of an immigration advocacy group, the California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC), told The Raw Story Monday that the two vetoes were a missed chance for Brown to show leadership on the part of the state.
"He lost an opportunity to demonstrate how states can advance legislation to value the important contributions of immigrants here in California," said CIPC policy manager Gabriela Villareal. "With the TRUST Act, it was a constitutionally-sound bill that would have limited unfair detention and deportations of immigrants, and certainly with the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, it was an unfortunate disappointment that the governor didn't recognize the people caring for California's families as real workers."
According to Reuters, Brown said the TRUST Act was "fatally flawed" for being too narrowly focused; the bill, he said, would have stopped local police from honoring federal detention requests for immigrants convicted of crimes like selling weapons, drug trafficking and the use of children in selling drugs and child abuse.
"I believe it's unwise to interfere with a sheriff's discretion to comply with a detainer issued for people with those kinds of troubling criminal records," he said in a statement.
The Associated Press reported that Brown also said he found fault with AB889, which would have opened up overtime and lunch break opportunities for house cleaners, nannies and caregivers, many of whom are immigrants. It would have also mandated compensation for live-in workers whose breaks were interrupted during an eight-hour period and made it easier for domestic workers to get workers' compensation.
In a separate statement, Brown said he had questions about the effects of the costs incurred by such provisions on both disabled and elderly employers and their families, as well as on the job market for the workers themselves. It was also unclear how the bill would be enforced.
"In the face of consequences both unknown and unintended, I find it more prudent to do the studies before considering an untested legal regime for those that work in our homes," Brown said.
In each case, Villareal said, CIPC is calling on Brown to work with the bills' respective sponsors to bring them back to the table.
At the same time, Brown approved AB2189, which means that younger immigrants approved for President Barack Obama's two-year deferred-deportation program will now be eligible to receive driver's licenses.
A spokesperson for Brown, Gil Duran, told The Los Angeles Times the move was done solely to adhere to federal regulations.
"Gov. Brown believes the federal government should pursue comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship," Duran said. "President Obama has recognized the unique status of these students, and making them eligible to apply for driver's licenses is an obvious next step."
[Image via Ryan Rodrick Beiler on Shutterstock.com.]